Big Lake, MN Monticello, MN
Try this simple posture "reality check" the next time you are standing in front of a full-length mirror:
Proper posture is one of the best preventive measures you can take to ensure a healthy spine. Good posture means maintaining your spine in a neutral position. This means standing or sitting so that your spine keeps its three natural curves—the small hollow at the base of the neck, a small roundness at the middle back, and a small hollow in the lower back.
Proper posture is the result of good musculoskeletal balance, which helps protect the joints in your spine from undue stress and guards against injury and deformity. It requires diligence and awareness on your part. Most of us need to gently prod ourselves mentally to ensure we are walking and sitting correctly.
Poor posture can result from regularly carrying excessive weights, or hunching over when working at a computer or watching television. It also has been linked to chronic headaches, shoulder pain, and TMJ dysfunction. It also can lead to such problems as: fatigue (from over-taxed muscles supporting a misaligned spine); muscle aches in your neck, back, arms, and legs; and stiff, painful joints (which may eventually lead to conditions such as degenerative osteoarthritis.)
Sometimes, poor posture is something that cannot be helped. For example, people with degenerative nerve or skeletal problems find it difficult, if not impossible, to obtain a healthy posture.
Here are some posture tips for various positions and activities throughout the day.
Stand up, walk around, and take frequent breaks from prolonged periods of sitting.
Consider investing in a cervical roll or similar pillow specially designed to keep your neck supported and in natural alignment with your head and upper back.
One of the best positions is on your side, with knees slightly bent and a pillow between your knees. Place a pillow under your knees if you are a back sleeper; this helps maintain the curve in your lower back. If you are a stomach sleeper and sleep with your head on an oversized pillow, it sometimes forces your lower back to curve excessively, putting pressure on your diaphragm and lungs.
Exercises to help posture